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Practice Report: Cracknell On Waivers; Pavelec to Start Against Arizona

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

The Rangers placed forward Adam Cracknell on waivers Tuesday, and coach Alain Vigneault along with General Manager Jeff Gorton are now waiting to make the next move.

"Gorts and I talked quickly this morning, felt that the best thing for us right now was to put Adam on waivers and see if he clears," Vigneault said. "If he clears, we'll figure it out from there. We're going to talk again this afternoon and see if there's other possibilities."

Vigneault said he'd prefer to ice the conventional 12 forwards and six defensemen lineup, but with a lack of a true center to anchor the fourth line, he's been deploying 11 forwards with seven defensemen.

A possible recall from Hartford of the American Hockey League is a possibility, and something the coach and general manager will discuss.

But Vigneault was adamant that he felt his group as is currently configured can work its way out of the 2-6-2 skid it finds itself in.

"I'm not focusing on any changes. I'm focused on getting this team to play better," he said. "Like I mentioned yesterday after the game: we're 10 games in right now. I've tried to work players into finding their rhythm, finding their game. There's no doubt that their will and their effort is there, but at the end of the day it's not good enough."

Outside of the Kevin Hayes line, Vigneault said he's still looking for chemistry among his forward lines. On the back end, though, the coach is pleased for the most part with his defensive pairs. He's moved Brendan Smith to the right side of Ryan McDonagh, and has Brady Skjei playing mostly with Nick Holden at five-on-five, with Tony DeAngelo being used on the power play.

Vigneault praised the duo of Marc Staal and Kevin Shattenkirk, who he said are working well together as Staal's defensive prowess allows Shattenkirk to exude more of his offensive abilities.

"I think that's a good combination there," he said. "When Shatty feels that the opportunity is there to jump up, he should be real comfortable that he's got a solid defenseman that can back him up."

Henrik Lundqvist, McDonagh and Chris Kreider all missed practice on Tuesday after being given maintenance days. 

Vigneault said Lundqvist was bothered this morning after hurting his leg in last night's game against the Sharks, while Kreider was also nursing a minor injury after getting hit on the knee by a shot. 

All three are expected to practice on Wednesday.

Vigneault confirmed goaltender Ondrej Pavelec will start Thursday night when the Rangers host the Arizona Coyotes at Madison Square Garden

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